Saturday, December 31, 2011

Men at work: Friendship harbor at year's end

Friendship harbor (click on photos to enlarge)

rigged for trawling

Friday, December 30, the last workday of the year was a busy day in Friendship harbor.  By a rough estimate of the dinghies at moorings in the morning about 20 fishing boats were out - baiting and hauling traps, or bringing them in for storage in the off season.  Others were getting ready for the shortened shrimp season.  The Department of Marine Resources has declared:
"The 2011/2012 fishing season specifications are a total allowable catch (TAC) of 2,000 metric tons, with the season closing when landings are projected to reach 95 percent of the TAC (1,900 mt). The trawl season will start January 2, 2012 with three landing days a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday). Vessels may only land once a day. The trap season will start February 1, 2012 with a 1,000 pound landing limit per vessel per day [and no days out]."
Delayed a month, it will be a short season, hard on Friendship's fleet. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Volvo: Somewhere in the Indian Ocean

In one of the strange finishes in the history of yacht racing: leg 2 - Capetown to Abu Dhabi finished not at Abu Dhabi but at an undisclosed Indian Ocean port - to avoid the risk of attack by pirates!  The boats were lifted aboard a freighter and transported for several days to the United Arab Emirates where they will re-start bound for the next port- Abu Dhabi!

Jamie Steeves turns second sardine carrier to new use - Rockland - Camden - Knox - VillageSoup Gazette

by Shlomit Auciello
ROCKLAND — Jamie Steeves has made a mission of finding and restoring damaged old wood-hulled commercial fishing boats and returning them to use on the waters where they were intended to serve. Steeves, who owns J & J Lobsters in Rockland with partner Joanne Campbell, has just brought the former sardine carrier Ida Mae to the railway at North End Shipyard, where it is being scraped, caulked and painted in preparation for a new life.Steeves turns second sardine carrier to new use - Shlomit Auciello - Rockland - Camden - Knox - VillageSoup Gazette:

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Giulio Verne Lays Power Cable Beneath the Hudson -

I was mystified by the strange ship 100 yards off shore at 56th street where I first spotted it, as I made the left off the Henry Hudson parkway.  The Times has identified the craft: the Giulio Verne, an Italian cable-laying ship. Owned by Prymian Powerlink, its specifications show it is 133 meters, 8,800 tons, and uses 15 - 20 tons of fuel per day when under way on the open sea.  It is inching its way to Edgewater New Jersey to connect the New Jersey power grid to New York's - to help wean the state from dependence on the Indian Point nuclear plant.  Powerbridge, LLC  is doing the job.  They also ran a cable from Sayreville, NJ to Levittown on Long Island - 65 miles.  Another project will bring power from Maine to Boston and south.
The Times article tells the story of the diver working below, and the excellent coffee and food served on the Italian ship.  Stop by when they get to Jersey - maybe they'll have a panettone left over from Christmas.  They'll surely have Illi espresso.  They can pick that up at Zabar's.
Crew Lays Power Cable Beneath the Hudson -
Update: I got some shots from 79th Street where the ship is moored now. HERE they are.

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Vinyl - George Vecsey

In which the great Times sports columnist George Vecsey marks his retirement and emergence as blogger: teaching his granddaughter about jazz. A favorite of his is Pharaoh Sanders - The Creator Has a Master Plan. Vinyl - George Vecsey:

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Who Has Fairest Lobster Trap Tree of All? -

Rockland's lobster trap tree
The Times reports that Jonesport's lobster trap tree has surpassed the one in Rockland!

New England Asks - Who Has Fairest Lobster Trap Tree of All? -

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40 years: from the Whitbread to the Volvo Ocean Race

The Whitbread round the world race became the Volvo Ocean Race 10 years ago.  It is the premier crewed ocean race.  Right now the boats are racing from Capetown to Abu Dhabi.  I guess everything follows the money.  Personally I liked the southern route: leave all the great capes to port.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Pescadotes: Ship in Ice

Thanks to my wife I have a photograph from an original negative of Frank Hurley, photographer on the doomed antarctic voyage of the Endurance, led by Ernest Shackleton, who brought the men home after months on the ice.  Joe Warren's watercolor reminds me of the scene in Hurley's photograph.

Monday, December 12, 2011

100 years ago: Amundsen triumphs, Scott freezes

Roald Amundsen - the great Norwegian explorer and navigator took the short route to the south pole. He got there on December 14, 1911 - and back safely. Robert Falcon Scott - burdened by the weight of British science - knowledge, not adventure was the goal - did not get there and did not get back. This slideshow tells some of Scott's story, which is brilliantly told by law professor and historian of science Edward J. Larson, in his recent book “Empire of Ice: Scott, Shackleton, and the Heroic Age of Antarctic Science".  John Wilford brings us up to date. - GWC
John Noble Wilford - New York Times - December 12, 2011

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VIDEO - Arctic Sea Ice 2011 Preliminary Minimum/

Sunday, December 11, 2011

2010 Spike in Greenland Ice Loss Lifted Bedrock, Implying "We’ll Experience Pulses of Extra Sea Level Rise” | ThinkProgress

2010 Spike in Greenland Ice Loss Lifted Bedrock, Implying "We’ll Experience Pulses of Extra Sea Level Rise” | ThinkProgress:
Ohio State University News Release
"An unusually hot melting season in 2010 accelerated ice loss in southern Greenland by 100 billion tons – and large portions of the island’s bedrock rose an additional quarter of an inch in response.
That’s the finding from a network of nearly 50 GPS stations planted along the Greenland coast to measure the bedrock’s natural response to the ever-diminishing weight of ice above it."

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S/V Iron Maiden

I found Iron Maiden at the dock in Ventura.  At 70 feet lwl/lod, 18.6 beam, 9 foot draft, she is what she claims to be on her website: an overbuilt reinforced steel explorer.  For details and lots of pictures go to the ship's website. A few of my pictures are below:

Sitting in Sitka:

Maggie has returned to New York and Richard and Issuma are sitting in limbo, making repairs as winter sets in on the edge of the Tongass National Rain Forest - Sitka Alaska. A town of about 10,000 on Baranof Island, it was colonized by Russians in 1799.  At 57 degrees north and 135 degrees west, I estimate it is an 800 mile run to Vancouver at 48 North, 123 West.  Alaska coastal winters are pretty moderate (in the 30's, now) but underway the windchill and the freezing spray counsel staying at the dock, making repairs. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Volvo Ocean Race | PUMA reach Cape Town after epic journey

The Times story on Puma  is great.  I didn't even know the Volvo race was starting.  The fate of one-time obsessions.  
Three boats of the six starters retired from the first leg (Spain to Cape Town).  Two were dismasted.  They expect to start leg II.  
NY Times Puma slide show HERE

from the Volvo Ocean Race website
PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG, who set off from Alicante with the rest of the fleet back on November 5, made it into the Cape Town port late on Tuesday night, 6 December.
The boat was lifted down from TEAM BREMEN, the container ship sent to pick them up, and the team motored her round to the shore base at around 1am for a raucous welcome from friends and well-wishers, whooping and cheering and wearing 'The Show Mast Go On' T-shirts, and more tender moments with family.Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012 | PUMA reach Cape Town after epic journey:

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Taisy's anniversary card

We went to Friendship for our 20th anniversary.  We didn't make it to the post office, so we didn't know of the anniversary card from Taisy.  I gave it to Marilyn to open, confident that the message inside would touch us both.  We were not disappointed.

Taisy's anniversary card - George Conk - Picasa Web Albums:

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Issuma: Peril Strait, Sergius Narrows

Peril Strait, Sergius Narrows, north of Sitka, in November.  How much more do you need to know to be sure to be careful about when you make that passage.  The current runs about 6 - 8 knots, through a narrow channel, according to the tide tables.  Richard describes his careful timing of Issuma's passage.  He didn't want to make that run when the # 8 buoy laid over like the picture above.  Of course the weather did not cooperate.  He got the tide right but had to pass through the narrows in a snow storm and strong wind. Tough enough as we see in this picture below which he took as they passed #8 Nun which marks a ledge.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

3 Small Cameras Come Up Big in Photo Quality -

3 Small Cameras Come Up Big in Photo Quality - "If you’re a camera buff, you can give thanks for the arrival of three of the best cameras ever made: the Sony NEX-7, the Samsung NX200 and the Canon S100."

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

She Moved Through the Fair - Van Morrison

with the Chieftains

Siobhan McKenna

Today is the birthday of the late great Irish actress Siobhan Mcenna

Star of the County Down

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans « tugster: a waterblog

PC 1264 - a subchaser - was built by Consolidated - which now is a yacht yard on Pilot Street, City Island.   My father's sub chaser was built by Luders in Stamford.  The remains of PC 1264 are sunk on Staten Island.  Tugster has the story.
Veterans « tugster: a waterblog:

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Escape from Yakutat | Issuma

Cape Spencer, AK - entrance to the Inside Passage
Richard Hudson and crew on Issuma got a weather window and made the 140 mile run from Yakutat Bay to Cape Spencer - the entrance to the Inside Passage. Looks like winter in Vancouver, not Yakutat. Congratulations, Richard!
Good thing - because NOAA is reporting an epic storm in the Bering Sea.
Away | Issuma: "Late the next day, we approached Cape Spencer (picture) in good conditions, with a tailwind, intermittent rain and hail from a mild frontal passage, and 5m/16' following seas."

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Epic Bering Sea Storm Lashes Alaska's Western Coast With Hurricane-Force Gusts and Blizzard Conditions - ABC News

Alaska Weather: Bering Sea Storm Lashes Alaska's Western Coast With Hurricane-Force Gusts and Blizzard Conditions - ABC News:
h/t Jesse Fradkin
 "On the remote Alaskan coast of the Bering Sea, a storm of "epic magnitude," in the words of the National Weather Service, is punishing local villages with high winds and blizzard conditions.
Winds along the coast reached 40 to 55 mph, with hurricane-force gusts of 85 mph. Forecasters warned of 30-foot waves, and sea levels 8 to 10 feet above normal. Even for western Alaska, one of the stormiest places in America, this storm was unusually fierce.
"One of the worst Bering Sea storms on record will cause widespread strong winds and coastal flooding," said a warning from the weather service. "This will be extremely dangerous and life-threatening storm of an epic magnitude rarely experienced.""

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Leave, Return, Repeat | Issuma

Will Issuma have to winter in Yakutat, Alaska?
Ivumbu hit the road earlier and is now in the Inside passage. But Richard has now made three attempts to make the 140 mile run to the beginning of the Inside Passage. Will they be wintering in Yakutat, Alaska? - GWC
p.s. notes on weather sources for the Northwest Passage are HERE.
"The critical thing to keep in mind about travelling in high latitudes is how easy it is to get into a survival situation. The Gulf of Alaska (and anywhere that far north) is a really unforgiving place in November. We weren't in any danger, but, if we wore ourselves out by getting cold hand-steering outside for hours in freezing spray, the danger was that if anything went wrong (like an engine problem, or taking on water), we would be exhausted, and not necessarily capable of quick, rational thinking and action."
We had tried for several weeks to leave Yakutat, and knew this break in the weather might be the last one until spring.It is really hard to turn back, when you know you are likely to make it if you just persevere and tough it out. But while the risk of something going wrong was small, it was still there, and I decided it was better to return to Yakutat.We turned around. Before easing off the throttle and setting sails (as the wind was now with us), we were making 8.7 knots. We had spent all day coming less than 30 miles, and we were soon back at the dock in Yakutat,Was Issuma going to spend the winter in Yakutat?

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Sunday, November 6, 2011

NY Marathon winners

Everyone that finishes is a winner, of course, but here are the top finishers: Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya (a course record - 2:05:06)and Firehiwot Dado of Ethiopia (2:23:15).

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Warm Hands - Issuma

Richard Hudson has advice here on how to keep your hands warm and dry.
He says that when he actually handles lines he does not wear gloves.  Not even 3/4 length finger gloves??  As usual practical advice.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Disenchantment Bay | Issuma

To the left is the intrepid mariner Richard Hudson (no relation to Henry) in a portrait by crewmember Maggie. Here he is at Disenchantment Bay, Alaska. He explains "In 1792, Alessandro Malaspina, an Italian nobleman and Spanish Naval officer, was looking for the Northwest Passage for the King of Spain. Sailing up Yakutat Bay until stopped by the ice from the glaciers, he named the NE part of Yakutat Bay Puerto del Desengano (Disenchantment Bay). "
Below is  a picture of fellow traveler Ivumbu sailing just ahead of Issuma at Yakutat Bay, Alaska.

Disenchantment Bay | Issuma:

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Tweed Run

Bill Cunningham photographs bicycling about New York in Tweed: The Tweed Run

Friday, October 21, 2011

Rockaways Gaeltacht-

Ed Shevlin drives a garbage truck for
the sanitation department.  He has been awarded a Fulbright
so he can continue his Irish language study.
Thomas Costello, my great grandfather, came to Brooklyn from Casla, just west of Galway, across a narrow finger of Galway Bay from where the ferry leaves for the Aran Islands. When Taisy and I visited 10 years ago we walked into the grocery store and everyone was speaking Irish, as they called it. Irish kids - who have to study Gaelic as a second language - go there in the summers to live with Irish-speaking families. Today in the Irish Riviera - the Belle Harbor section of the Rockaways in Queens a bit of that world lives. - GWC
Ed Shevlin Polishes His Irish While Collecting the Trash - "THE jolly trash man was going about his route in the Rockaways, Queens, when he spied a woman in front of her house."

“Cé hé bhfuil tú?” he greeted her. Naturally, the woman replied, “Tá mé go maith.” “Ceart go leor,” the trash man shot back.

This exchange — roughly: “How are you?” “I’m fine.” “Ah, grand!” — was in Irish, the Gaelic language that survives only in parts of Ireland — and to a lesser extent, along the garbage route of Ed Shevlin, 51. The route winds through the Belle Harbor section of the Rockaways, where conversations were once commonly conducted “as Gaeilge.
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Issuma: Yakutat Bay

Maggie has joined the crew at Yakutat.  They seem to be travelling tandem now with Ralf on Ivumbu, who is more of a diarist than Richard to check out Ivumbu's blog.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Issuma: single-handed from Kodiak

Kodiak Harbor, Kodiak Island, Alaska

Cape St. Elias, Kayak Island
Richard Hudson departed Kodiak harbor - single-handed and headed across the Gulf of Alaska.  Taking the long route - in case the storm to his south headed north, he made Cape St. Elias, Kayak Island in about three days.  My guess is that was a 300 mile run, leaving him about 350 miles northwest of Juneau.  I assume he is going to take the inside passage to Vancouver, a route memorably described by Jonathan Raban in Passage to Juneau.